Last Man Standing

CIOL Bureau
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Hailing from Allahabad, Manoj Srivastava stands apart from his other industry colleagues. In the era of job-hopping at every second day, Srivastava has managed to stick on to his parent organization for 15 long years.


Quiz him about his decision and says, "I think there are two basic reasons for anyone looking out for a new job. The first is better opportunity and the second, a better environment. Luckily for me, I was able to get both the things in the Sahara Group. Also, the recognition and trust I have earned from the management and colleagues."

Personal Front



Manoj Srivastava,

CIO, Air Sahara

He started his career by doing odd jobs until May 1991 when he bagged a job with the Sahara Group as a senior executive in Lucknow, where he worked for two and half years. After that, he was transferred to Sahara India Mass Communication where he worked for one and a half years as an EDP engineer. Srivastava found his calling when the Sahara Group launched their Airlines, Air Sahara, and he was transferred to the airlines division in 1994 as an EDP head. He has graduated since from being the EDP head to heading the IT department at Air Sahara and en route introduced innovative IT processes for benefiting customers.


Tight Ropewalk

And in his priority list, family holidays top. "It is now mandatory for us to go to one international and domestic destination every year. Recently, we had gone to Ooty and Singapore," he says. In whatever free time he manages to take out, Srivastava loves net surfing, reading computer magazines, looking for innovations, and listening to instrumental music and old songs. "I also have a collection of CDs of old songs which I listen to on and off," he says.


Work Front

Personal Diary


Manoj Srivastava, CIO, Air Sahara

Work Experience:
Started working in Sahara India in 1991 and has thereafter been with the Sahara Group in various capacities. He has worked his way up from being an EDP executive to being the head, Information Technology, Air Sahara

Likes Doing:
Net surfing, reading IT magazines, traveling and listening to old songs

Is Fond of:
His two daughters and "cannot imagine a life without his wife". In addition, his laptop and mobile are indispensable

"It is really a challenging job for anyone to work in such a dynamically changing environment which is very competitive. But I have accepted the challenge and incorporated all possible technology in my Airlines. And, today I can say that IT is not just the facilitator but it also participates in business in a much bigger way," he says, talking about the importance of IT in Air Sahara.

Srivastava has played a key role during the time of branch computerization in Sahara India Financial Corporation in 1992-93 when he visited almost 200 cities including small towns in Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and even some parts of Southern India.

Passionate about IT, Srivastava has been the pioneer in introducing e-commerce project in the airlines business. Air Sahara was the pioneer in introducing e-commerce in the market when it decided to sell tickets online way back in 2001. "Over a period of time, more functions have been added to the website which include creating customer profile, flight schedule, availability of seats, and registering complaints as well as a separate section for frequent fliers. What's important to note is that no outside agency was involved in the development," he says.


Another project close to his heart is the SMS-based service wherein personalized messages about the delay or arrival status are sent to frequent fliers on entering the airport. Significantly, all this is system driven with no human intervention whatsoever. "Anyone with a GPRS phone can track his frequent flier mileage, schedule, fares, etc and plan for a journey, all in real time," Srivastava says.

Future Plans


Srivastava's dream of developing the CRS stems from his expertise in airlines, as he has spent 13 years in this domain. "I now strongly feel like an airlines domain person rather than an IT professional but since IT is my bread and butter, I want to use IT for enhancing the customer experience." he says.

Stuti Das

"My wish is to develop a computer reservation system (CRS) application for domestic airline operators. This will help the airlines industry, since airlines are presently using CRS/GDS applications from international vendors and, therefore, are forced to share a big part of their revenue with as 'per passenger booking cost'," says Srivastava, "Keeping in mind the current competitive fare structure and operating cost, no airline is interested to pay per booking charge but is helpless." Srivastava laments the absence of a locally developed CRS, even though India has the best telecom and software companies.IT in Air Sahara helps in servicing internal customers including various departments and employees, and external customers, who include passengers. "Technology is used to provide a direct touch to our customers. For instance, our website is used to sell tickets online, thereby lowering costs by doing away with travel agents," Srivastava says.Even as Srivastava admits to being a workaholic his family always comes first. And he's always trying to achieve the unattainable "work life balance." Owing to a hectic work schedule, this doting father finds it difficult to give quality time to his two daughters-Shruti and Shrishti-but he does manage to squeeze time for them and drops them to school every morning. He depends on his wife, Meenu, for taking care of his home, so that he can devote more time to his work. "Thankfully I have a non-interfering wife but I do take advice from her for arriving at unbiased decisions," says Srivastava.After doing his schooling from Pune (as his father was in the Army, the family was on the move all the while), Srivastava completed his graduation from Allahabad University after which he did a course in computer science from the Indian Engineering Rural Technology Institute.